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CHTH403 The Puritans: Working out the English Reformation

The nature, aspirations and theology of sixteenth and seventeenth-century English Puritans in their historical context, including those Puritans who moved to New England to build 'a city on a hill'.

This paper introduces students to the Puritans - the 'hotter sort of Protestants'. They will see how religious tensions and policies gave rise to Puritan settlement in New England in the 1630s and, in the 1640s, to the English Civil War. They will assess the fruitless effort in the 1650s to implement a permanent religious settlement along Puritan lines. Finally, students will engage directly with the writings of two leading Puritans: Richard Baxter and John Owen.

Paper title The Puritans: Working out the English Reformation
Paper code CHTH403
Subject Christian Thought and History
EFTS 0.1667
Points 20 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2023 (Distance learning)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,206.91
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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Limited to
BTheo(Hons), BA(Hons), PGDipTheol, PGDipArts

Papers in Theology examine the scriptures, history, content, and relevance of the Christian faith, but presuppose no Christian commitment from students. All that is required is an inquiring mind and an interest in those skills that can be gained through the study of any subject in the Humanities.

Associate Professor Tim Cooper:
Teaching staff
Associate Professor Tim Cooper
Paper Structure
  • Module 1: What is a Puritan?
  • Module 2: Presbyterians, Congregationalists and Separatists
  • Module 3: Antinomians and Arminians
  • Module 4: The Puritans in New England
  • Module 5: Puritan Revolution
  • Module 6: Godly Rule
  • Module 7: Dissent
  • Module 8: Richard Baxter and John Owen
  • Module 9: Richard Baxter
  • Module 10: John Owen
Assessment: Three essays worth 15%, 35% and 50% each
Teaching Arrangements
The paper will be taught via five 2-hour videoconferences.

Textbooks are not required for this paper.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Lifelong learning, Communication, Critical thinking, Research.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
Students who successfully complete the paper will be able to
  • Demonstrate a critical awareness of key issues in current historiography of the Puritans
  • Provide a sophisticated account of the historical context of the Puritans
  • Identify and articulate the convictions that brought the Puritans together as well as those convictions that drove them apart
  • Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the life and thought of Richard Baxter and John Owen
  • Undertake more effective independent historical research

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Not offered in 2023

Teaching method
This paper is taught through Distance Learning
Learning management system